Subject: Re: Sad (was Re: comments on i386 -1.2BETA snapshot)
To: Peter Galbavy <firstname.lastname@example.org>
From: Charles M. Hannum <mycroft@MIT.EDU>
Date: 08/29/1996 09:27:58
Peter Galbavy <email@example.com> writes:
> Oh. So this is a confirmation of censorship of supposedly unmoderated
> mailing lists ?
I'm unclear on two things:
1) how this qualifies as `censorship', and
2) where you got the idea that our lists are `unmoderated'.
Our mailing lists are for the specific purpose of discussing and
contributing to NetBSD. They are not for discussing Chorus, VSTa, the
Hurd, FreeBSD, or OpenBSD, except inasmuch as they may contain useful
ideas and/or code. They are also not for flaming at other people.
They are not for telling people that they should use other operating
systems. They are not for advertising the Euphoria Tape or how to
make money fast. And they are most certainly not for making libelous
claims about our source tree.
For some reason, the vast majority of our readers are quite reasonable
about this. It's a shame that some people aren't, but reality bites
Consider this analogy:
You hold an open forum on the topic of censorship, and invite the
general public. Some enterprising individual decides to stand up and
talk about drug legalization for 30 minutes. While drug legalization
may be a fine thing to talk about at some other time, that's not why
people came to your forum. Indeed, many of them feel that their time
is simply being wasted. A few even get up and walk out. As the host
of this event, the entire audience is looking to you to do something
about this twit. So, what do you do?
The sad truth is that there isn't a single good answer to this. It's
a lousy situation, and any possible response (or lack thereof) is
going to suck in some way or other. My general rule of thumb is that
anything that reduces the amount of bullshit in the world is good.
Except for a very small number of people who cry `CENSORSHIP' at any
form of moderation, I believe that our policy of benevolent moderation
(and only of a very small number of postings) has, on the whole, been
quite successful in achieving this goal.
To put it another way:
Do you believe that it's appropriate for anyone to talk about anything
at any time and in any place? Where do you draw the line on what's
reasonable? What do you do when someone has repeatedly demonstrated
that he is not reasonable? I can tell you, based on a large body of
experience, that ignoring the problem often does not make it go away,
and that many people find it easier to simply unsubscribe than to wade
through a mailbox full of junk every day.
BTW, while I'm on this topic, I'll add that all the allusions to how
we treat other OpenBSD developers are complete nonsense, and amount to
nothing more than petty rumour-mongering. The fact is, there are a
few people who contribute to both systems, and we welcome their
contributions just as much as anyone else's. I've personally been
working with one of these people over the past few weeks to fix some
problems in a piece of code that he wrote.